How does living with a disability affect resident worry about environmental contamination? A study of a long-term pervasive hazard

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Hazards, 2019, 18 (5), pp. 459 - 478
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. While a growing body of research within the environmental hazards scholarship examines how disability affects human responses to major, sudden-onset environmental disasters, little attention has been given to understanding how disability affects responses to long-term, pervasive environmental hazards. Research analysing human responses to land and groundwater legacy contamination in residential areas has identified the significance of demographic and psychosocial determinants of worry, however the question of how living with a disability affects resident worry about contamination remains unanswered. This article provides a cornerstone study for exploring the relation between worry about environmental contamination and disability. A study of 486 adults living in 13 urban residential areas in Australia affected by a range of contaminants was undertaken in 2014. Ordinal logistic regression analysis found respondents with a disability were significantly more likely to worry about contamination than those without. People living with a disability had significantly higher amounts of worry about the contamination than those living without. Changes to residents’ daily habits in response to the contamination and perceptions of personal control over exposure to the contamination present important considerations for understanding the implications of worry for people living with and without a disability in the environmental contamination context.
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